Art academy for SC/STs, ethnological museum opened

(By Our Staff Reporter)

Kozhicode, March 4: The Minister for SC/ST Development, Mr. K. Radhakrishnan, today inaugurated an art academy for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes -- "Adikalakendra" (centre for primordial art forms) - and an ethnological museum, a dream project of the Kerala Institute for Research, Training And Development of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (KIRTADS), at Chevayur near here.

The kendra aims at bringing into the mainstream the art forms of various tribes, besides preserving and modernising the primitive art forms of the tribal culture. Select master craftsmen, master solo performers and dance troupes will be provided an opportunity to stage and exhibit their skills before the public.

A repository of material culture of SCs and STs and rare artifacts which would depict the unique features of tribal culture will be displayed at the ethnological museum. The museum will also provide an opportunity for people to study the past and contemporary technological level of SCs and STs.

Material objects of hunting (bows and arrows), fishing, food collecting, agriculture, carrying and storing baskets, domestic utensils, costumes, ornaments, musical instruments, objects used in religious rituals and the like have been put up on display at the museum. Miniature models of tribaql huts with household implements, specimens of hebarium sheets of tribal medicinal plants and a collection of field photographs of tribals will also be on display at the museum. (The term "Adikala" means the earliest art forms of mankind which still exist in various forms. However, these art forms are either dying or subject to rapid transformation as they were not given due importance by society until recently. Revival of the rich cultural heritage could boost the esteem and morale and help activate the process of development growth of the tribal societies. Art forms like dance, music, riddles, songs, wood carvings, basketry, mat weaving, cane works, wall paintings, mask dances, floor and wall drawings are some among the art forms of tribes).

The main objectives of the kendra are to identify master craftsmen and performing artistes, document in visual and audio besides print the art forms of SCs and STs. The art forms would be classified, compared and analysed with an ethnological perspective. Preservation of these art forms, revitalisation of endangered ones, publication of research studies and promotion by instituting awards and annual grants are the other objectives of the primitive art centre. A documentation centre attached to the "Adikalakendra" will document the notations of each of these art forms.

Boarding facilities for atists, a workshop for craft persons, an exhibition hall, dressing room and a circular-shaped open-air stage with a gallery with a seating capacity of about 300 form part of the "Adikalakendra".

The ethnological museum will give future generations a glimpse of the life of SCs and STs.

Kirtads already has a collection of more than 1,500 specimens, pertaining to both SCs and STs, from across the State.

Apart from a store of rare artifacts, the museum would also be a tourist attraction.

There are 68 Scheduled Castes and 35 Scheduled Tribes in Kerala. The cultural profile of these communities, both physical and metaphysical, are fash changing and the collection of the artifacts gains importance as these are increasingly becoming extinct.

The museum will serve as a laboratory for an in-depth study of the material culture of tribes with an inner view to their cross-cultural perspective for a researcher in tribal culture.

Mr. Elamaram Kareem, MLA, presided over the meeting. The District Collector, Ms. Usha Titus, welcomed the gathering and the Kirtads director, Dr. N. Viswanathan Nair, proposed a vote of thanks.

Source: "The Hindu". TVM Edn., Monday, March 5, 2001
Referred by:Mukundan C Menon
Published on: March 5, 2001
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